Chicago Cubs: Projecting Kris Bryant’s 2018 Season
Evaluating Bryant’s at the plate
Though he hit ten fewer home runs and the slugging was slightly down, he improved as an overall hitter at the plate. His on-base percentage rose above .400 as his walk rate rose and his strikeout rate decreased.
Looking at his hit break down (not counting home runs), in 2016 he hit 99 singles, 35 doubles and three triples. In 2017 he hit 91 singles, 38 doubles and four triples. Those are very similar numbers, and his batted balls are finding grass at a similar rate looking at his BABIP numbers.
Keep in mind his BABIP was slightly higher last year while also strikeout out less. Both his in-zone and outside-of-zone contact numbers rose last year, while his swing percentages in both decreased. His swing selection was overall better. And he made more of his choices as he made better contact. It explains both the slight increase in BABIP and decreased strikeouts.
Zone Swing% 74.2 (2016) vs. 68.3 (2017)
Outside-Zone Swing% 30.8 (2016) vs. 28.3 (2017)
Zone Contact% 81.1 (2016) vs. 85.0 (2017)
Outside-Zone Contact% 59.8 (2016) vs. 64.7 (2017)
The “run production” argument is another topic of conversation. Bryant bats in the two-hole and the faulty RBI stat does not factor his position in the order. A good indicator of production is his wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus). 148 (2016) vs. 146 (2017), yes technically down but still very similar and very good.
Overall Bryant’s approach at the plate improved last year and actually, he showed growth in a number of areas.